Modernizing education: You can’t find a job in your textbook
April 25, 2013 Editor 0
New York Times Op-Ed Columnist Tom Friedman talks with Tony Wagner, Harvard education specialist, about the problems associated with throwing graduates from an outdated education system into an evolved job market.
In response to an inquiring email from Friedman, Wagner says:
“Today, because knowledge is available on every Internet-connected device, what you know matters far less than what you can do with what you know…Every young person will continue to need basic knowledge, of course. But they will need skills and motivation even more. Of these three education goals, motivation is the most critical. Young people who are intrinsically motivated — curious, persistent, and willing to take risks — will learn new knowledge and skills continuously. They will be able to find new opportunities or create their own — a disposition that will be increasingly important as many traditional careers disappear.”
Developing these skills should not be solely the responsibility of the individual. It’s not fair to teach one skill set and then assume students will adapt to the vastly different one required by the “real world.” Not only does this leave students ill-prepared, but it’s also a waste of their time, and their most creative years. Changes need to occur in the very foundation of educational structure. If the job market demands innovation, schools must shift from memorization and regurgitation to experimentation and inquiry.
“We teach and test things most students have no interest in and will never need, and facts that they can Google and will forget as soon as the test is over. Because of this, the longer kids are in school, the less motivated they become,” said Wagner.
So how do we do prepare this and subsequent generations of students seeking jobs in growth industries and keep them motivated in meaningful careers? Some folks seem to have it figured out.
“Finland is one of the most innovative economies in the world and it is the only country where students leave high school ‘innovation-ready.’ They learn concepts and creativity more than facts, and have a choice of many electives — all with a shorter school day, little homework, and almost no testing.”
Motivation, innovation, future employment and no homework. Now that sounds like a solid foundation.
Need a Job? Invent it. by Thomas L. FriedmanOur traditional education system is at odds with the needs of today’s job market. How can we turn this around? Photo Credit: zaveqna (flickr).Related articles:
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